FROM READERS: Lutz's BBQ, the good and the weird

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 | 10:30 a.m. CDT; updated 1:18 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Robin Nutall tries a 1/3-pound Lutz's pulled pork sandwich with a salad. Nutall said the pork was some of the best she has ever had.

Robin Nuttall runs the blog CoMo Whine and Dine, which reviews restaurants around Columbia. This story was originally posted on her blog on Sept. 15.

I got a chance to check out Lutz’s BBQ tonight. I haven’t ever been to the Jeff City location, so it was an entirely new experience for me.

First, the good. What I had was excellent. I did a 1/3 pound pulled pork sandwich with a salad. I also had a box of chips (more on that in the weird). The pork was probably the best I’ve ever had; and I say that as a huge Buckingham fan. It’s a little dry, in the sense that it’s not drenched in grease/juice. I actually far prefer that. It had a wonderful char on the outside and was gorgeously pink with a sweet smoky tang.

My salad was also very nice, far above the iceberg selection at Buckingham, with parmesan, cauliflower, broccoli, grape tomatoes and red and yellow pepper strips.

I chose the vinegar and salt chips. Again, superb. Very thin, crisp and just the right amount of vinegar. I could see those chips getting addicting in a hurry.

I also tried a friend’s pork tenderloin and, again, really nicely done. Service was pretty reasonable seeing as there was a big line; they were hoofing it.

Now the weird. The menu choices, in some cases lack of choices, and pricing.

What I really wanted was a pulled pork dinner. Guess what? There isn’t one. You can have chicken. You can have a pork steak. You can have burnt brisket ends, baby back or spare ribs, fish, and even a sampler dinner, but no pulled pork on the dinner menu. I’m not into buns/bread. So since I wanted pulled pork, I had to get a sandwich and discard the bread.

Fine. Okay, I’ll get the sandwich. But you are only allowed certain side choices. You get one set of choices for a single side, and a different set of choices for two sides. You can’t mix! What I wanted was a pulled pork sandwich (okay, a pulled pork dinner but that was already off the table) with a salad and a side of chips. That was flat-out not allowed. The salad was one of the single choices and the chips were on the “two sides” menu. I really didn’t get the explanation why, except that they refused to do it.

My only choice if I wanted a salad was to get the salad as my side then buy an entire box of chips. Which frankly irked the crap out of me. Yes, the chips are good. I did not want or need an entire box. To me it smelled of jacking prices. I was willing to pay a slight upcharge to mix; that’s what we do at Buckingham. I was not prepared to be told no; I was not allowed to have the choices I wanted for dinner in a reasonable portion size.

I did buy the box and shared it with the table, but it still made me mad.

Oh and they have a whopping two salad dressings: ranch or poppyseed.

Finally, I am disappointed that if you want to buy just meat, you can only buy in 1 pound-or-more portions. I love to go to Buckingham and get a half pound of turkey and a half pound of pork. I can get turkey as a meat at Lutz’s (but again, not available as a dinner…), but I’d have to buy a pound of each.

The food really is very good. I just wish the menu offered more and they were more adaptable.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising Editor Joy Mayer.

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